[eDebate] NDT Committee Action Items

curt d jstumill
Fri Apr 7 10:19:25 CDT 2006

>The juxtaposition of the arguments: (1) this rule is unmatched biopower,
>reaching into the director's bedroom; and (2) the AFA code of ethics, to
which we
>are bound, goes further and prohibits all coach research, is certainly
>interesting. The second clearly answers the first.

....except for the fact that the NDT Committee's ability to pass a rule that
is in direct violation of the ethics code proves that it isn't really
"bound" by that code after all. If the committee feels that prohibiting ALL
coach research is too far, and they can just do what they feel is more
reasonable....then you really can't use the ethics code as an intervening
actor to blame for your decision. Ethics rules are all or nothing, you can't
choose "here's half-assed compliance!" If that is the only route that makes
sense to the committee, then the particular ethics rule clearly has to be

 >[The rule never did really regulate what directors/coaches can do in their

>rooms. It basically regulated what research and arguments teams can use in
>tournament. A non-designated coach can sit in her/his room and cut cards
>write arguments all night, the debaters just can't use them. This is
>parallel, for instance, to the NDT rule that prohibits fabricated evidence.
Does that
>rule also reach into the director's bedroom at night, preventing her/him
>fabricating evidence? Well, no, it just says the team can't use it in an
>actual round. The NDT committee is certainly authorized to neutrally
>evidence/arguments used in a debate round at the NDT.]

>Overall -- we need to keep some perspective on this rule.

This is an astoundingly bad comparison. With regards to fabrication, the
ethics violation concerns the content of the research; i.e., that all
evidence in rounds not be, you know, lies. It is entirely different to
attempt to dictate the circumstances under which evidence was researched,
which has no bearing on the content. This means the NDT Committee also has
the theoretical power to disallow any card from being read unless the
researcher was wearing rainbow suspenders at the time it was cut.

Much more importantly, the rule against evidence fabrication works because
1. People actually feel it is wrong, and
2. If someone happened to be evil, then they would still refrain because
they would almost certainly be caught at some point!

Unfortunately, neither would be the case for this rule - nothing is going to
stop anyone at the NDT or at home from sending cards to their debaters.
There's just no way to catch anyone - unless the card has an unhiglighted
middle section that is 4 pages long, in which case it is probably JP Lacy's.
Back when most of the people on the NDT Committee debated, wasn't
0.0000%enforcement, like, still a voting issue?

Also, there are all sorts of fun thorny questions that that backchannel o'
questions did not resolve. What if an assistant is reading the morning news
paper and they come across an important card accidentally - can they tell
their debaters about it? Is the whole newspaper offlimits? Can they just
draw brackets around it? What constitutes actually cutting a card - can you
underline them, so long as the debater actually uses the scissors/hits

>It does not threaten the advantages (inequities) that accumulate all year
>that benefit schools with big coaching staffs and squads in being able to
>larger files going in to the NDT compared to their smaller counterparts.
 Sounds like win-win-win.

>What this rule does do is tell a relatively small group of people that for
>three or four days (out of 365) they can't research or write arguments.

Replace "tell" with "ask lamely" and you've got yourself an accurate
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